Primary Research Method

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Primary research is used when existing secondary sources of information have been tapped. To obtain additional market knowledge, organisations make fresh enquiries through forms of field research that yield primary data. This enables organisations to make direct contact with potential or actual customers. Surveys can be based on questionnaires that are conducted as part of an interview, through a discussion group, by post or telephone. This can be time consuming and expensive so only samples of customers who have been very carefully selected are included in the survey.

The reliability of data depends on the size of the sample group-is it big enough to draw valid conclusions from which the wider population is accountable for. To ensure that a sample survey is representative, researchers try to get a sample of all relevant characteristics. However these results are not always accurate as people unintentionally distort their answers in response to feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable about releasing certain information.

This research method is perfect for obtaining lists of the population (names and addresses) from sources such as trade and telephone directories, the electoral register, memberships lists of professionals and subscription lists. This type of sample research involves random selection, where surveys can be carried out/categorised in terms of regions or location. This can take up a lot of time and effort upon gathering relevant information. The quota system is a very popular method of consumer research because it can be clearly defined.

Small sized sample groups can be cost-effective and provide an indication to customer reactions and preferences before the product has been launched. The advantages of using questionnaires are that their resulting data is easy to process and the survey can determine the impression whether that person’s contribution is important. By contrast a questionnaire comprising open-ended/misleading questions creates problems of interpretation and analysis, as well as in recording data.

Personal interviews produce the best response from surveys as they provide additional information and help identify general characteristics. However they can be an expensive method of conducting surveys, if using the probability and random selection systems, interviewers must revisit respondents who are not at home. If using the quota system, a subgroup may have characteristics, which make it time-consuming and difficult to trace individuals. Postal surveys are less expensive, but the response rate is poor because there is no interviewer at hand to assist with any difficulties.

By test marketing a product and its packaging, an organisation may discover features that appeal to certain market groups or that might be dropped. Tests also carried on competitor’s products may also help to pinpoint advantages and deficiencies. Secondary Research Methods: Secondary research uses existing sources of information, which may be internal or external to the organisation. It provides valuable data to establish a connection between the company’s performance and outside influences.

External sources include trade publications, directories and magazines that specialise on collecting data on subjects and developments of relevance to the business sector. Consequently information used in secondary research is not directly generated for that particular organisation or purpose. Therefore it can sufficiently irrelevant. The rapid growth of information technology has made research data more accessible and easier to analyse. As a result organisations have more reliable and up to date information.

Among the new developments, the use of the Internet has made access to worldwide sources much easier. This modern technology also allows detailed community profiling to be achieved by analysing data by postcode. All this monitoring, profiling and analysis is conducted with complete confidentiality by the organisations when using secondary research methods. Although in some occasions you may need to supplement secondary research by undertaking primary research methods.

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